Contact Form Design: 5 Steps to More Leads & Contacts

It’s time to talk about conversions. Your business needs them, you want them, but how do you make sure that the form on your website isn’t costing you money? Let’s talk about five steps that you can take to ensure that you’re making money and your form converts, coming up next.

If you’ve watched this blog for any length of time, you know that helping small businesses grow is the core of our message and a lot of that revolves around marketing, i.e., how do you get people to your website or how do you get people to your store? But what happens when they get there? Let’s talk about your form. What do we need to do to make sure that the form on your website, the way that people contact you is highly convertible, easy, simple, doesn’t cost you money, and increases your conversions? Let’s start with step one.

1: Intent.

Now, this is pretty basic, right? So we’re going to go a little bit beyond the typical contact us form, right? The contact us form, it’s the name, phone, email, a little message description there that they can have and then just the submit button. Yeah, sure. Maybe you understand the customer is trying to reach you, but what’s their true intent? What are they actually trying to accomplish in their efforts to reach you? Now we’re just using the contact us form as an example. This could be any form, this could be pricing, this could be help or troubleshooting. This could be contacting sales, this could be free estimates, whatever. So let’s think about what the intent of the customer truly is and craft our form to help them answer those questions. If they’re really trying to contact you for support, then that needs to be something that the form itself is built to support, right?

And ensuring that the form is getting to the right place, getting to the right people so that your customer is getting the feedback and the response that they need as fast as possible. In fact, the faster you respond to forms will have a dramatic impact on the amounts of conversions that you get, and how many of these deals actually turn into customers. So the very first thing to think about, at its most basic level, is what is your customer’s intent and what is the intent of your form? Once you’ve got those figured out, we can move on to step two.

2: Give and take.

Now getting people to come to your website is its own array of complexities, but getting them to fill out a form can be even more difficult. So you kind of want to think about this as a teeter-totter. How do you balance what the customer’s asking for versus what you are asking for in order to provide the information that they need? Think about it like this. If you’re a roofer offering a free estimate, so is everybody else. There’s nothing there that you are offering that somebody else isn’t offering already. So there’s no real incentive or value for your customer to actually fill out the form. But if you’re a roofer who’s offering free estimates and also free shingle tiles or free shingle examples so you can color match to your roof and decide what you like. Well, now it’s a little bit different. Now you’re offering something new, you’re providing more value to me.

3: Don’t be greedy.

Now, initial and basic forms that come with most websites or even a lot of website developers will create. This, is just name, phone, email, and maybe a little spot for comments, and that’s really not enough. But some business owners really have a tendency to start to ask for a lot of information. You want the name, the phone, the email, then you start asking for an address, you ask for a mobile phone and home phone, you ask for a first name and last name in maybe separate fields. You start asking for what state they’re from. How did you hear about us? You’re asking all this kind of stuff. What you really need to consider is how much of that is mission-critical. How much of the information that you’re asking for is actually business-critical. Meaning if you don’t have this information, you cannot provide a good experience to your customer after they filled out the form.

Now, there may be a good business reason for why you need to ask for some of this information. Maybe you need to know what service they’re interested in so that you can route it to the specialist who knows about that service. Maybe you need their zip code so that you can send that lead over to the territory manager in their area who needs to call them. In that situation, this is business-critical. It’s mission-critical to be able to get that info to provide a great experience. What you want to do is distill down your form as much as you can so that you’re only asking for information that you cannot get later on the phone.

If you want their address, ask them. Don’t ask them on the form, ask them on the phone, because you don’t need the address, most of the time, in order to provide the service or answer the question. This goes back to step one where we’re wondering what the customer’s intent is. If there’s information on your form that you do not need in order to achieve the customer’s intent and solve their problem and provide great customer service, get it out of there, and you’ll see your conversions go up.

4: Design for the times.

A lot of people don’t consider this, especially if you’re building your own website, but the design of the form really truly matters. We live in a mobile-first, app-driven world, and we’re looking for convenience. So if your form is not suitable or not mobile-friendly, you can just go ahead and kiss those conversions goodbye. If it’s not easy to fill out and it can’t be done on a cell phone, well I’m heading out of here, I’ll go somewhere else. Other things to consider are, how does it function on the mobile phone? If somebody is filling out their zip code, do they have to go up and switch their keyboard and go to the numbers at the top or is the form coded in a way that it just switches over to the phone number or to the number pad, so on your phone, you just hit the big buttons, the phone number there and enter in your zip code, phone number, whatever that is.

Any little aspect of convenience there really increases your opportunity for conversion. Again, when we’re thinking about mobile-first, by reducing the amount of time that somebody is spending trying to fill out your form, the complexities of filling out your form, we’re talking seconds, and seconds matter. The faster it reacts, the better it’s designed, the easier it is to use across all devices, increases your conversions and the likelihood that when you call them back, the customer will actually pick up.

5: To be upfront.

So picture this, right? You’re driving somewhere, an hour out of your way, whatever, you’ve headed that direction. As soon as you start getting closer and closer to your destination, what’s the first thing that you do? You turn off the music or you turn down the radio or you tell the person next to you, “Shh, quiet. I’ve got to figure out where I’m going,” right? Just as people, the closer we get to this level of complexity or the further that we get to accomplish our goal, the more we try to eliminate distractions.

So if your form is creating distractions, that’s where you start to find that people won’t complete the form, they won’t finish filling it out. People also see this with abandoned carts, right? If you’re an e-commerce store, you probably are familiar with this, and you’ve probably lost a considerable amount of money to people that get there, they put the product in, and then they realize that there is a shipping charge, maybe they weren’t aware of that. Or they’re not aware of this additional fee or they’re not aware of who knows what they’re aware of. You’re asking for too much information, or it’s too complex, or it’s not easy to put in their credit card information, so they abandon it. People do the same thing with forms. If they don’t know where they’re going, they don’t know what to expect, and when they encounter something unexpected, they bail.

There are some easy ways to resolve this. A lot of it has to do with design, but the other aspects of it have to do with just being upfront. This is not a submit button. You get rid of that text, get rid of that phrasing. This is a free instant estimate. Now I know if I provide the information you’re asking for and I click this button, I’m going to get a free instant estimate. If I fill out this form and I provide the information that you’re looking for, I’m going to get immediate access to download my trial or to download my e-book or something like that.

All you’re doing is creating a roadmap so that the customer understands what they’re going to experience at what time during the form. If they know what to expect, they’re not going to look for opportunities to try to get rid of distractions. They’re not going to look for reasons to bail, and they’re going to fill out the form of providing the information that you need. These are important critical steps to be thinking about. As long as you can provide a roadmap, you start to reduce some of the anxiety and reducing the anxiety and the friction in your form is critical to increasing your conversions and blowing up your sales.

So there we go. There’s plenty of other levers or dials or things that we can tinker with on forms to increase conversions, increase customer adoption rates, and just increase the interaction.

Why Content Marketing Keeps on Giving

Content marketing, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. So content marketing, why is it the gift that keeps on giving? Well, it is because it keeps generating views for you as a business. Let me explain what I mean here.

If you create a really nice video on YouTube, or maybe you create a nice piece of content on your website, maybe it’s a blog post or maybe it’s a nice page that you’ve designed on your website. If it’s ranking high on Google, it’s going to continue to gain views for you as a business. To compare this to advertising. With advertising, you’re going to get a lot of views upfront, but then you’re not going to receive more views once your budget runs out. With content marketing, it keeps generating views over and over again for a long time into the future. Let’s take a look at an example.

The blog post I created in July 2017. It’s been read over 400,000 times at the time. Two and a half years after posting the blog, it’s still generating 10,000 readers a month, so that’s pretty impressive, right? 10,000 views per month. This blog is still generating that for us as a business that I created two and a half years ago, and so it’s unbelievable. Over 400,000 people have seen this blog and it’s all because of content marketing.

Let’s take a look at an example of how this would perform over time compared to paid advertising. So let’s compare that to running a paid ad. A paid ad of around $5,000 would generate you approximately 50,000 views if you’re lucky. Then once the ad budget runs out, all the views would just stop.

But if you invested $5,000 in a really nice well-optimized content like I created, you would start with only a small number of readers and it would take much longer to reach 50,000 views, but eventually, it would pass that and it would continue to ramp up well beyond and just keep ongoing.

All in all, the return on investment with content marketing versus paid advertising is just so much better. It’s slower to ramp up, but then it’s much, much better in the long term.

So the question is which one should you choose? Well, I’d actually recommend both. I think you should invest great time and effort and resources into developing really great high-quality content that you can optimize and you can promote organically. But I would also encourage you if you have enough budget to also invest in some promotion of that content through paid advertising. Give it a little boost, build some momentum behind the content so it can build its views faster and then let it, the organic piece of it, just keep propelling it forward thereafter.

That’s the strategy I’d recommend. But if you want to look for ideas for your business for content marketing, you’re not quite sure you know how to tackle it. Give us a call, talk to one of our marketing consultants. We’d be happy to help you out.

Marketing For Retail Stores During Social Distancing – 3 Tips

Today we’re going to cover three tips on how to market your retail store in the era of social distancing.

1: Make sure that you’re communicating with your customers.

One of the most important things you can do is let them know that you are planning on surviving this time and you are going to open your doors again. You’ve got to make sure that they know what your hours are. If you are still able to be open, maybe you’ve had to restrict your hours or maybe you’ve restricted your staff a little bit, so you’ve still got to make sure that you communicate that to them. There are other businesses that are totally closing their doors or people that are just stopping for the time period. Maybe that’s you. That’s okay. You’ve just got to make sure that you’re communicating this to your customers.

They want to hear from you. They want to know where you’re at with this. They want to know that you’re going through the same thing and that you’re taking precautions to keep your staff safe and to keep them safe. So make sure you’re communicating across all mediums you’ve got because it’s incredibly important. Once your doors are open again, then they can come back and be your customers. They just need to know that you’re planning on doing that.

2: You’ve got to get online.

A lot of retail stores are realizing that they can’t rely on foot traffic anymore. They’ve got to get online, they’ve got to get that eCommerce site set up and you’ve got to start selling via the internet. It’s not the world’s easiest thing to do. You’ve got to have the website. It’s great if you have your point of sale system connected with your inventory so that you’re not selling things that you don’t actually have, you don’t have to manually update those things. So it’s really hard. It’s really difficult. It takes a lot of time, but time is really all we’ve got right now, so now’s a perfect time to make sure that you’re doing that.

Communicate with all of your vendors, have them send you product photos and product images so you can get started on that. If you need to find a new point of sales system, you’ve got to hunt that down to make sure that it’s going to connect with your website. Great websites to look at would be websites 360, WooCommerce, Woo 360, Shopify. These are all incredible platforms that connect with a lot of point of sale systems, so that’s another thing you can look at. You’ve got to just make sure that you are online as soon as possible because that’s really what’s going to keep you around during this time. You can’t always rely on foot traffic. Sometimes it’s a pandemic. Other times it’s a snowstorm, but if you’re online then you’ve got a 24-hour salesman who’s selling your product all the time.

A lot of small businesses have relied on older ways of selling their product for a long time and that’s okay, but when we start to come across challenges like we’re experiencing right now, you really start to realize that it’s not going to work that much longer. And we’ve got a lot of time on our hands, so now is the perfect time to make sure that you are getting online so you can sell online.

Now I’ve got a pro tip for you here. If you’re closed or if you’ve got reduced hours, so you’ve got extra time on your hands or you’ve got staff that doesn’t really have a lot of things to do at this moment, now is a perfect time to start to task them or task yourself to start doing these other things that are going to take a lot of time that will help you get online faster. One of these is product descriptions. Product descriptions are tough because you can’t just steal them offline and your vendors are not going to send them to you. You’ve got to come up with these yourself. So if you’ve got a staff member that is really, really knowledgeable about a lot of products, have them start writing product descriptions. You’re getting product images, your vendors are sending you those and then as you get that and you start to bring your products online, you can make sure you’ve got your product descriptions as well. It’s incredibly important and can save you a lot of time.

Another thing that you can do, again, if you’ve got staff members that are really knowledgeable about what you’re selling or the services that you offer, you can have them start to write content, write blogs and things like that, that will help your website rank organically. Everybody is online now. All we’re doing is spending time online. So you’ve got to get online and make sure your content is there. Now is a great time to keep your team employed, keep them busy and utilize the skills that they have to make sure that your website is ranking high.

3: Be social.

Right now everybody’s online. That’s all we’re doing. That’s all everyone has time to do at this moment. So get online and get social. If you’ve been ignoring your social channels, now’s the time to kick them back up. If you’re pretty good at communicating, but you realize that you’ve kind of slacked off a little bit as things have been dying down, ramp up that communication. This is a great time for you to connect with your customers in an environment that’s not really salesy. You’re not always selling, you’re just communicating that you’re here, you’re here for them, you’re here to help them. You’re here to help them shop with you online. You’re here to support the local economy and you’re here to engage with them.

So social is an incredible way to do that. And if you’ve found that you’re just really not communicating as much as you wanted to or as much as you have in the past, you’ve got to ramp it back up. There’s a lot of people that are saying a lot of studies that are showing that customers, they’re not finding you. They’re not driving by, they’re not seeing the lights on. They don’t see your sign, we’ll be back in three weeks, we’ll be back whenever. They’re looking for you online. And if you’re not there, you’re not showing up, you’re not in their social feeds, you start to lose that top of mind awareness that you worked so hard to get. So, you’ve got to be social.

Another aspect of this is to share content from some of the other folks in your area. If you’ve got business owners that you’re friendly with or you’ve got people in your shopping center or anything like that that you connect with and you know these folks, make sure you’re sharing their content also. Now, small business owners, we’re all in this together, so the more that we can share content from our neighbors, the more we can share content from other small businesses in the area, we all grow together. This is a hard time for a lot of retail stores. It’s a hard time for small businesses, so we’ve got to stick together and we’ve got to make sure that we get through this as one team.